Introducing….another pair of ears
|January 10, 2014
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
I really value the one-person-one-horse relationship.
It creates a certain bond between horse and rider because like a marriage there is no other choice beyond each other. You work things out, you go to couples therapy (what I called dressage lessons) if needed and you accomplish things together.
With one horse the consequences of a bad management or competition decision goes beyond an injured horse. It also means no riding, no trails with friends, no saddle time on a horse that is *mine*. For me, riding is such an essential part of “me” that when I was facing six month period of no riding with my single horse (this was pre-blogging with Minx) because of injury I felt like I had lost part of my “self”. It was devastating.
I bought Farley when it wasn’t clear that Minx was going to be long term sound. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do in the future, but it was clear she wasn’t going to do endurance.
When you add a second horse, the relationship with the first changes.
I didn’t want it to. But inevitably my relationship with Minx changed. I didn’t go out to the barn just to hang out. Why would I sit there and just hang out with my horse when there was another horse waiting in the paddock to be ridden? I love riding, and I could ride as much as I wanted without overriding either of my horses, so given the choice between riding or “just hanging out”…..I RIDE.
Riding horses and riding in endurance rides became more…business like for me.
As it worked out, there ended up being only a little bit overlap between Minx and Farley. Farley injuried herself soon after I got her in the Fall, Minx became rideable sound around the same time and we started completing 50’s the next spring. Farley started LD’s that next Fall and I had my hands full trying to condition 2 different horses until…..Minx died the following spring.
It was during that Summer/Fall that both Minx and Farley were in endurance training that I SWORE I would never try and do two horses at once. Besides the relationship factor, I wasn’t doing *other* things in my life (like running) that are important self-care activities. And of course there was the financial factor – while paying 2 boards is not a big deal (board is relatively cheap in this area), paying the expenses of 2 COMPETITION horses is significantly more. The sum of this equation was a life which consisted of lots of riding, but very little free time or money.
Since Minx died, I’ve kept my promise. Farley has been my one and only. Once I had one horse again, I found myself with that same intense relationship with Farley that I had enjoyed with Minx when she was an only horse.
For the last couple years I’ve known that at some point I would have to start a younger horse if I wanted to continue in endurance. I haven’t looked forward to it. I’m not interested in baby horses. I’m not interested in breeding my own baby horse for a lot of reasons. I actually wondered whether I would continue in endurance once Farley retired.
I had decided last year that I would be willing to have a second competition horse while Farley was alive if she was retired. Although something might happen sooner, I figured that when Farley was 20 years old, I should have something in the 6 or 7 year old range ready to go.
I’ve always had the horse I needed at the right time, so I sorta just expected one to come along that was darn near perfect for what I needed, when I needed it – kinda like Farley and Minx had. So, when some youngsters started coming my way….at first I balked but then gave it a second look.
I realized getting a 2 year old wasn’t out of the question. A 2 year old now would be 7 when Farley was 20. I would be out of college by the time I needed to seriously start it under saddle. At this point in Farley’s career I’m really focusing on getting a handful of rides per season to continue our decade team award and having fun. I can’t handle the riding of 2 horses in full 50 mile training, but maintaining Farley and doing some light work on a youngster is perfectly doable. And getting my young horse while Farley is still sound and rideable over the longer distances will make some aspects of training easier because I can pony etc.
So, I started looking at the youngsters being tossed my way with more interest. One of these might be the one! Because in my life, “the one” tends to make itself very obvious, when something promising showed up but then got “complicated” I didn’t worry – I knew the “the one” was still to come.
Over the years I’ve been able to “hone” what I want in a horse. I’m really picky. I’m even pickier about a young horse that isn’t under saddle yet. There’s a lot of considerations with any horse, but in a young horse that is too young for me to ride, I care a lot about potential resell value if I don’t “click” with them in the future. I learned my lessons with Farley well and now I’ll pour over a pedigree and try to understand the reasoning or purpose of the breeding behind a horse. Temperament is the second “leg” of my stool. Babies will be babies…but there are easy going sweet babies and most of the time I see those easy going babies turn into easy going horses. I heard over and over again from people who knew Farley before me when she was young how “sweet” and “easy going” she was. The third leg of my “baby picking stool” is conformation. It doesn’t has to be perfect, but it has to be decent. I’ll take more conformation flaws in a “proven” horse, but when I’m placing bets on the future for something unproven, I’m more picky.
And then there’s personal preference – I perfer dark horses over greys, short over tall, mares over geldings. This won’t necessarily make me shy away from another wise ideal candidate, but it’s something that is always in the back of my mind.
Two weeks after I had decided I was serious about finding something in the 2-4 year old range, and less than 3 days after a rushcreek prospect I liked started to get complicated, but before I had starting ANY looking/inquiring….I got an email wondering whether I or anyone else I knew, might be interested in a TKR 2012 half sister of Farley.
To be continued….